Athlete of the week
Crystal Lake Central, so.
Petersen won the Fox Valley Conference Tournament at 132 pounds Feb. 1 to help the Tigers to a team championship. In the finals, Petersen got a takedown in overtime to defeat Johnsburg’s Branden Peshek, 4-2. In the Illinoismatmen.com Class 2A 132-pound rankings, the result bumped Petersen from No. 9 to No. 7 and dropped Peshek back two spots to No. 8.
Regional overview: The state series begins Saturday with regional competitions across the state. The top three place winners at regionals qualify to wrestle at sectional tournaments next weekend.
Regionals are also a qualifier for the dual team state tournament for the winning teams.
For the top area wrestlers, regionals is just part of the process they have to go through to make it to sectionals and then state. For many others, it’s a chance to be a sectional qualifier for the first time with a chance to qualify for state.
The third-place matches should be some of the most exciting at all of the regionals with the winners advancing and the losers staying home.
In Class 1A, Alden-Hebron, takes over hosting duties after Harvard moved up to 2A. A-H’s Colten Cashmore will look to advance to sectionals again after qualifying as a freshman last season. Qualifiers will advance to the Byron Sectional.
In Class 2A, all of the local teams will be at the Hampshire Regional, with the exception of Marengo, which will be at Belvidere. Hampshire qualifiers will advance to the Antioch Sectional, with Belvidere qualifiers moving on to the Pontiac Sectional.
Crystal Lake Central has won a regional championship every year since wrestling moved to three classes in the 2008-09 season. After winning the FVC Tournament Feb. 1, the Tigers are the prohibitive favorite to make it six consecutive regional championships.
McHenry will host a Class 3A regional that includes Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge. The top team is Deerfield, which is ranked No. 11. Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South and McHenry are all ranked as honorable mentions.
Area wrestlers earned the top seed in 10 weight classes at McHenry, including four for C-G, three for South, two for Prairie Ridge and one for the host Warriors.
After taking fourth at conference with a depleted lineup, McHenry gets back two of its top wrestlers in Luis Hernandez at 220 and Cam Pait at 160. Both are looking to qualify for state for the first time.
Hernandez is undefeated on the season with 29 wins. Pait lost in the consolation semifinals to just miss out on qualifying for state last season.
South’s Eric Barone is the top seed at 145, which looks to be the toughest weight class in the regional. Seven of the 145-pounders have more than 20 wins, including Barone (32-4), No. 2 seed Brandon Arteaga (27-3) of Lake Zurich, No. 3 seed Connor Boundy (24-13) of Barrington, No. 4 seed Brady Glantz (27-7) of Deerfield, McHenry’s Carter Herber (28-10), Buffalo Grove’s Jake Siebert (26-8) and Stevenson’s Robert Pavlovies (23-13).
Dundee-Crown, Huntley and Jacobs will compete at the DeKalb Regional.
This week’s top meets
Feb. 14 and 15
Antioch and Pontiac Sectionals
The top four place winners qualify for the state tournament Feb. 20 to 22 at Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois in Champaign.
– Rob Smith